After the incredible success of last week’s APSCUF Voter Registration drives across the campuses (where hundreds of student registered to vote), a month of civic engagement continues with the PA AFL-CIO’s Get Out the Vote (GOTV) tour.
In the coming weeks, the AFL-CIO bus—loaded up with speakers, food & drink, a grill, and non-partisan information about the political issues facing today’s students—will be stopping at each of our 14 PASSHE universities. Students can stop by for free burgers, hot dogs and snacks, along with some information on how vital their votes will be in the upcoming election.
The tour began last week with stops at East Stroudsburg University and Bloomsburg University, where APSCUF and AFL-CIO staff were on hand to help students register to vote. Monday’s event at Millersville focused on spreading awareness about the issues: budget cuts, the student debt crisis, and other matters that many students are facing today.
Over a hundred individuals of various political affiliations turned out to enjoy the free food and chat with staff members about their interests and their role in the democratic process. Each student left with a full stomach and flyers containing voter info, information on the issues, and a reminder of the November 4th election date.
Running from 4 – 7pm, #BurgersandBallots closed out its night with a few short speeches.
First to speak was Millersville student Kaytee Moyer. Moyer discussed the important role students and young people can play in an election, citing student voter turnout as a key to President Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 election. She urged her peers to make use of that power: “It’s time for students to activate and be heard.”
Recent Millersville graduate and student activist Rizzo Mertz focused his speech on one key word: rise. He spoke on the proven ability of Americans to unite for common goals and rise up.
“We must rise,” Mertz said, calling on not only students, but those of all demographics. “When you choose to be silent at the ballot box, your voice becomes a whisper.”
The final student speaker was Doug Waterman, President of the College Democrats at Millersville. Waterman faced the issues head-on, citing recent cuts and changes at nearby universities and demanding a change.
“You have tuition increases,” Waterman said. “You have faculty getting cut, you have majors getting cut. It’s time that we elect someone who is best for us.”
Following the student speeches, Zach Hause and Mike Maguire addressed the crowd. They both focused on opportunity and freedom, two ideals that are compromised when students do not have their needs met. Maguire stated that recent cuts have limited the choices and opportunities of today’s college graduates, then rallied the crowd one last time before inviting everyone to enjoy another burger.
#BurgersandBallots proved to be a smash success at Millersville University, and the tour is only picking up steam from here. The bus stops today at Mansfield University, 1 – 3pm on Clinton Street, South Laurel Hall. APSCUF and the AFL-CIO thank everyone who stopped by, got involved, or helped out with yesterday’s event, and we hope to see just as many faces at Mansfield and the remaining nine universities.